Highlights 2020

27.11.2020 Medical Faculty's Digital Research Day

The Medical Faculty's annual Research Day went digital this year and was well-supported with the participation of 175 doctoral students and 70 reviewers in 17 groups as well as more than 600 spectators. BIOME-affiliated poster prize winners included Anna-Lena Beerlage, Eva Boog-Whiteside, Marvin Droste, Jana-Fabienne Ebel, Lena Gockeln, Anne Günther, Nhi Ngo Thi Phuong, Theresa Quinting, Armin Spomer, Johannes Wilhelmi and Jiajin Yang. Special mention should be made here of Beatrice Thier and Rebekka Vogtmann for the outstanding achievement of each being awarded a poster prize for the third year in a row, and of Venkatesh Kumar Murugasan who was a runner-up in the science slam. Excellent work, and congratulations to all.

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© BIOME/Bormann et al.

18-20.11.2020 1st BIOME Virtual Retreat

The Covid-19 pandemic did not hinder the triple BIOME cores for Cellular and Molecular Immunology/Infectious Diseases/Tumour and Signalling from holding their annual interdisciplinary retreat this year, which, due to lockdown, took place held virtually on three intensive, consecutive mornings. The retreat's programme was adapted to suit the format accordingly: instead of the usual talk and poster sessions, each doctoral member was given a strictly-scheduled, four-minute talk slot in which to present their research's punchline, with a further two minutes for peer discussion thereafter. The sessions were sovereignly hosted by doctoral chairs, with discussion panel members being announced at the beginning of each session. This year's keynote speaker was Toni Cathomen (University of Freiburg) who gave a fascinating overview of the clinical translation of genome editing. Prizes for each day's best doctoral presentation were awarded to Nina Buß, Keven Hörster and Beatrice Thier.

© For the kind permission of the SARS-CoV-2 image used in the collage above, BIOME would like to thank the following scientists:
Maren Bormann1, Lukas van de Sand1, Leonie Schipper1, Bernd Walkenfort2 and PD Dr. rer. nat. Adalbert Krawczyk1 from the 1Department of Infectious Diseases and the 2Electron Microscopy Unit (EMU) of the IMCES, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

International Recognition for UDE's Biomedical Research

The international excellence of biomedical research at the University of Duisburg-Essen is reflected in the latest US News & World Report on the Best Global Universities with three listings in the top 100 subject rankings for Oncology (# 15), Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems (# 57) and Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging (# 70) in particular.

At the end of 2018, the Science Council already highlighted the great potential and the highly positive development at the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University Hospital Essen in recent years and emphasised the location's success in research. “The very good placement in this important international ranking confirms that we have chosen the right path so far,” states the Dean of the the Medical Faculty, Prof. Jan Buer.

Clinical Medicine at the University Hospital Essen also performed notably: it is the front runner in North Rhine Westphalia, is ranked 8th in the top 10 in Germany and reached 129th place worldwide.

Compared with the 1 500 universities included in the ranking, UDE is 5th in NRW, 21st in Germany, 124th in Europe, and 285th worldwide.

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Fritz Schiff Prize for Dr. Esther Schwich

The Fritz Schiff Prize 2020 was awarded to Dr. Esther Schwich from the Institute for Transfusion Medicine. She received the EUR 3 000 prize of the German Society for Transfusion Medicine and Immunohematology for her doctoral and subsequent project work in the field of transfusion medicine, which was funded by the BIOME-PEP excellence programme of the Medical Faculty.

The focus of the investigations she carried out was the surface molecule HLA-G present on blood cells and its properties as an immune checkpoint molecule. "With this study we were able to gain important insights for an improved understanding of the course of the disease and possible new therapeutic approaches for breast and ovarian cancer," explains the young scientist, Dr. Esther Schwich.

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03-04.09.2020 BIOME - 10 Years of Science, Education and Career Development

In addition to the brilliant and diverse line-up of BIOME alumni speakers who joined us from Tarrytown (NY), Stockholm, Zurich, Oxford, Yale and Trinity College Dublin as well as from various parts of Germany, confirmed keynote guest speakers at this highly successful combined physical/digital event were Maija Hollmén (University of Turku, FI), Eran Elinav (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, IL) and Ali Ertürk (Helmholtz Zentrum München, DE).

BIOME extends a huge, big thanks to each of our alumni and keynote guest speakers for so kindly sharing their career experiences and job/research insights with the members of our graduate school at this occasion. It was trully a wonderful and inspiring event to mark BIOME's 10th anniversary, and we very much appreciate the time, efforts and thoughtful contributions that made this (alas hybrid) conference work. It was our privilege to have you as our guests. Thank you to everybody for joining us, and wishing all participants every success in continuing their impressive professional endeavours.


22.07.2020 Two DFG-Funded Collaborative Research Centres Join BIOME

BIOME warmly welcomes the collaborative research centres, CRC 289: Treatment Expectation (Speaker: Ulrike Bingel) and CRC 296: Local Thyroid Hormone Action (Speakers: Dagmar Führer-Sakel and Heike Heuer) as independent research and training structures to our graduate school network. These long-term multidisciplinary scientific programmes are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Patients’ expectations about treatment benefits are important modulators of health outcomes. An individual’s expectation can substantially shape symptoms and disease progression and influence the efficacy and tolerability of treatments. The ultimate goal of the CRC 289: Treatment Expectation is to generate the knowledge base for the systematic utilisation of patients’ expectation in order to optimise therapeutic strategies and thereby improve health outcomes.

Thyroid hormones (TH) are essential for normal tissue homeostasis since they orchestrate many cellular processes. Both TH deficiency and TH excess result in a vast array of clinical manifestations indicating that proper organ functions are compromised. While current treatment strategies aim to normalise circulating TH levels in affected patients, recent discoveries have highlighted the importance of local mechanisms in controlling the organ-specific TH status. Hence, the goals of the CRC 296: Local Thyroid Hormone Action (Locotact) are to dissect how these local control mechanisms are organised, as well as to address whether a local modulation of TH action is beneficial in certain pathologies.

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25.06.2020 UDE in the Top 20 Yet Again

UDE remains a rising star in the international university landscape. In the Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Ranking of the 200 best universities in the world that are 50 years old or younger, it currently ranks 16th. As in the previous year, it remains the best young German university. The awards go to institutions that have developed quickly and successfully in a short time and are considered to be ambitious. For five years now, UDE has been among the top 20 best young universities worldwide and has established itself as a research university in international competition.

It is particularly convincing in the THE citation index, where it takes 103rd place in the overall World University Ranking. In a nationwide comparison, UDE ranks fifth after Heidelberg, Berlin Charité, Ulm and Hohenheim.

THE assesses the most research-intensive universities in the world according to various academic dimensions such as teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international orientation.

© pixabay.com

12.06.2020 BIOME Scientists Develop Novel SARS-CoV-2 Fast Test

Neutralization tests for the novel corona virus are complex and can only be carried out in special laboratories. Scientists at the University of Duisburg-Essen have now developed a new method that is faster, cheaper and can be widely used. A pre-print of the study has already been published to give the scientific community quick access to the method.

The work originated at Essen's Institute of Virology, which is headed by Prof. Dr. Ulf Dittmer. In addition to the virologist Dr. Khanh Le-Trilling, Lara Schöler, an outstanding young researcher and member of Prof. Dr. Mirko Trilling's working group, has been acknowledged as the first author of the publication with equal rights. Lara Schöler is a medical doctoral student who has participated in the ELAN and BIOME excellence programmes and now works in the Research Training Group 1949.

Link to paper

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2019/2020 Dies academicus 2020

This year it was again a great privilege for the University of Duisburg-Essen to honour the outstanding final achievements of doctoral students and graduates from all faculties and to award the Duisburg-Essen teaching award. Due to the current situation, the event could not take place as the traditional ceremonious social occasion, and thus the prize winners had to be acknowledged using electronic media. The former BIOME graduate member of the Cellular and Molecular Immunology core, Dr. med. Dominik Schöne, was nominated as the Faculty of Medicine's best doctorate for his MD thesis on "Identification of CD8+ T cell epitopes in adenovirus capsid proteins and the analysis of immunodominance hierarchies of adenovirus verses transgene epitopes in adenoviral vector-based immunisation". Our warmest congratulations!

Dies academicus

20.04.2020 biome@home

Punctually on the first day of the university's summer semester 2020, our graduate school launched its interim webinar programme "biome@home" with Christina Karsten’s fascinating talk on viral glycans. Christina Karsten, who is a recipient of a Harvard prize for her research on novel vaccine development strategies, has just recently taken up her new position as Assistant Professor for Vaccine Development at the Institute for HIV Research at the University Hospital Essen, so it was a particular honour for BIOME to kick off its virtual lecture series with her as our invited keynote speaker. With close to 70 doctoral participants joining us for the inaugural digital event, the webinar was simultaneously a successful live stress test of the IT structures we have been establishing since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March 2020.

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25-26.02.2020 Close Ruhr Collaboration on Extinction Learning Continues

Fuelled by the valuable regional scientific exchange in 2018, the BIOME core on Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience again joined forces with the SFB 1280/ International Graduate School of Neuroscience (IGSN) at their annual congress this year hosted by the Ruhr University Bochum. Leading experts sharing their latest insights at this high-calibre event were Josue Haubrich (McGill University, Montreal, CA), Johannes Letzkus (Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, DE), Tina Lonsdorf and Jan Haaker (both University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, DE), Erno Hermans (Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, NL), Dirk Hermans (KU Leuven, BE), Stefan Reber (University of Ulm, DE), Luciana Besedovsky (University of Tübingen, DE), Michael Fanselow (University of California, Los Angeles, US), Katja Wiech (University of Oxford, UK), Maria Lalouni (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SE), and Susanne Becker (University of Zurich, CH).

15.01.2020 Accessing Clinical Research

The Clinical Research Core held their retreat this year in Colonia House, Essen. The event was organised by Mona Kimmig. The guest speaker was Susanne Stolpe, who introduced the participants to the advantages of using the Access programme for organising, storing and evaluating data from clinical studies and research. The talk was followed by a trouble-shooting session whereby doctorates could discuss any data management challenges they were currently facing in their studies. Thereafter, a retreat dinner was held at a location in the vicinity.

Annual Retreats 2020

Clinical Research
Venue: Colonia Haus, Essen

Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience
Venue: Ruhr University Bochum

Transplantation Medicine
Venue: Virtual retreat

Ischaemia, Reperfusion and Angiogenesis
Venue: Die Remise, Schloß Mickeln (Heinrich-Heine-Universität), Düsseldorf CANCELLED

BIOME - 10 Years of Science, Education and Career Development
Venue: Lehr- und Lernzentrum, Virchowstraße 163a, 45147 Essen

Cellular and Molecular Immunology/Infectious Diseases/Tumour and Signalling
Venue: Virtual retreat